Dowagiac baseball sweeps Paw Paw

Published 7:48 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Getting timely hitting, solid defense and effective pitching, Dowagiac swept Paw Paw, 4-1 and 5-1, in Wolverine Conference baseball Friday.

“It’s a lot of fun for these kids now,” Chieftains coach Dan Schuchardt said. “The last few weeks, we’ve been playing with one or two errors a night. We’ve told them that we can live with one error. With one error, you can always make the next play.

“We’ve been telling them to take a breath, get the next one and forget that play and they’ve really been buying into it.”

The current crop of juniors are in their second or third varsity seasons, so they’ve heard the message from Schuchardt and his coaching staff over and over again.

“It’s nice to see that they’re listening. It’s not just us telling them to do the stuff, but they’re actually doing it.”

Dowagiac (12-17-1, 5-8-1) topped the Redskins (11-14-2, 6-9-2) in Game 1 Friday at Rotary Park with run-scoring singles by Collin Hassle (two out in the first inning), Brenden Dudley (one out in the fifth) and Erik Walker (two out in the sixth).

Hassle drove in Nick Foote (on base by hit pitch). Dudley plated Walker (on base by error). Walker knocked in Austin Jones (on by single).

The other Dowagiac run was scored in the fourth inning when Elijah Williams doubled and scored on a two-base error.

Right-hander Dudley (5-2; 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks) was the winning pitcher. His eighth strikeout victim ended the game with the bases loaded.

Not only did he scatter three singles and strand five runners, Dudley also benefitted solid and sometimes spectacular defense behind him.

Diving catches by Chieftains center fielder Elijah Williams took hits away from Paw Paw’s Jimmy Wessel in both the first and fourth innings.

Walker came in for a diving catch in right field to rob Redskin Justin Middlebrooks in the seventh.

Kurtis Carr singled in Middlebrooks (on base by single) with Paw Paw’s first-game run in the second inning.

Carr’s diving catch in right field took a hit away Hassle in the fourth.

Redskins right-hander Austin Callahan (6 innings, 4 runs, 9 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk) took the loss.

In the second game, Dowagiac scored three runs in the third inning and one each in the fourth and sixth frames.

In the third, Walker was hit by a pitch and later scored on Dudley’s groundout. Hassle’s single plated Foote (on base by single).

The third run scored when Mack Charles (on base by single) scored on the front end of a double steal with Williams (on by fielder’s choice) taking second base.

Foote smacked an RBI single to drive in Zech Huston (on base by single) in the Chieftain fourth.

In the Dowagiac sixth, Taylor Dodd’s single drove in Jones (on base by error).

Winning pitcher Charles (3-3; 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 7 strikeouts, 3 walks) worked out in and out of trouble. The right-hander left three bases loaded in the third inning and two Paw Paw runners were stranded in both the first and sixth frames..